Archive for the ‘travel’ Category



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img_0192Tasting Sap


img_0212Mr. Peterson sells his syrup out of his pantry year-round.

img_0252Running through the Mud

img_0263Discovered the Snow

img_0271More Running

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I didn’t bring the spare.  They were nestled in our cold cold car, and here we were in the mall with a puddle of pee and soaked toddler.

Sears to the rescue.

After racing to the potty, cleaning up, and wrapping her bare bottom in my sweater, we headed to the children’s sale rack to see what we could find.

Pink sweatpants for $4.  Score!

But try as might, I coudn’t convince her to wear pants without undies.

So we went in search of the undies section.

“No, honey, those are boys.  How about Dora?  These are for girls.”

“Look!  Minnie!”

“That’s Mickey.”

“I like Mickey!”

I was wearing out at this point so I didn’t care to point out that these were boys undies too.  We paid at the counter, turned down the bag since we were putting them on right away anyways, and went around the corner to hide in the candle section.

I ripped open the package and handed over the pair with Mickey on the ass.

She pulled them on, pleased with herself.  And then looked down and exclaimed: “These are boys’ undies!”

I stuttered, “Uh, well, yes, yes they are.  But that’s okay.  You can still wear them.”  I didn’t think she’d spot the gender-bender.  I figured she’d stick her hand through the hole and exclaim about the pocket.  I didn’t know she could actually identify boys undies.

“When we get home, we should give them to a boy.”

“You want to give them away?”


“Um, okay, I’ll call and see if W__ needs some Mickey undies.  He likes Mickey.”

“Otay.”  And she pulled on her pink sweatpants and told me to throw the package away so we could go walk around some more.

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If I’d been able to think coherently, I would have been playing the twilight zone theme song in my head as I drove.  It would have, at least, made me laugh.

Instead, I was too busy crying and explaining to my two year old why.

“Mama wasn’t thinking.  Mama made a mistake.  All-of-the-gas-stations-are-out-of-power-and-we’re-almost-out-of-gas-and-we’re-too-far-to-turn-around-and-I-don’t-think-we-have-enough-gas-to-get-there-and-my-cell-phone-has-no-reception-so-I’m-nervous-and-scared-and-so-I’m-crying.”

Avi let me babble for a while before she interjected “Mama wanna cookie?  Avi give mama kisses.  Will that make you feel better?  Avi give you hugs and kisses.  That will make you feel better.  Let’s sing the princess song again.”

In the meantime, I’m also wishing I had just enough gas that I could pull over and take a photo because I’ve never seen anything like it:

completely white trees bent over, bowing to our honorable presence,

sweeping the streets with their top-most branches.

Cars and trucks whisking by seemingly unaffected by the disturbing absence of wildlife and light pollution.

Haunted thoughts of having to hitch a ride with a complete stranger, toddler in tow.

Looming dark gray clouds pressing down on us.

The knowledge that I might just make it,

unless I hit traffic from a downed power line or tree, unless the skies open up with hail, unless my bladder can’t contain the swelling pain from having to pee and I just have to stop and the re-starting of my engine uses up just enough gas to keep us from reaching our destination.

Here, of course, is where the theme music might have come in handy.

Not to worry.  In the end, we made it.

We hit the Pioneer Valley and it was like driving into Brigadoon.  We crossed a line and the trees were green and upright.  I cried again when I spotted a lit street lamp.  This green green electrified valley entirely surrounded by frozen homes.

I even found a gas station with at least a gallon to spare.  Of course, I parked and sprinted to the bathroom first.  Holy pee, batman.

I have no photo of this ice storm to share with you so here’s a happy bonus shot of Avi and her gramma at Yankee Candle:


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Frequent Flyer

At just past 20 months, Avi has logged thousands of miles of plane time.

I don’t know how to figure out the mileage yet, but it’s far too much for a peanut her size.

And yet, tomorrow we fly again.


Those Jewish relatives who will slide underhanded comments into every conversation about how I should be parenting.

And my Grampa.  He’s 85.  He’s wonderful.  He’s the real reason we’re going.  So he can know Avi and she can know him.  And someday all she will remember of him are his shaky hands and funny smell and saggy neck skin.  And I will be able to tell her, “You are related to an amazing man.  And you met him.  And you made him laugh.  And he loved you very very much.”

So it’s worth it.

But I’m not looking forward to the plane ride.

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I had a professor who moved like the wind. She couldn’t have been a day under 75 but could lift herself up into a shoulder stand like she was bringing a tea spoon of sugar to her lips.

One day, she brought out large sheets of paper and blindfolds. We sat, blinded, listening to music. Then, still blinded, we were each given a piece of charcoal and paper and told to draw what we heard as we listened again. The results were dramatically different. Afterward, she went around to each student and told him or her their elemental sign: Earth, Air, Fire, Water.

Given, she’d been working with us for weeks so she went on movement and personality along with these works of art. But it didn’t matter because out of the class of 15-20 students, she didn’t miss a single one.

I am a water.

This certainly doesn’t mean I swim like a fish. In fact, I dog paddle like a preschooler. But I love being near water. I love the rain. I love being on the water.

This weekend I took Avi up to Maine and together we slid through the water in a borrowed canoe.

I forget that I love to paddle. I forget the delightful ache in my muscles after a day of stroking. I forget the feeling of peace, excitement, awe, life as I slide over the surface or slice through waves.

I think Avi may feel something similar. Her first time in a canoe, her life vest was so large she couldn’t sit down. It went too far down to allow her to bend at the waist. At just shy of nine-months, she rested between my knees and gazed at the landscape serenely. A week later, on the paddle back across from camp to the awaiting car, it rained and the waves grew and we paddled into the wind. I had to lay her at my feet; her head cradled by the bow. Layers of blankets and tarps beneath her and around her. I paddled hard, glancing down constantly to make sure she was alive. As if a bouncy canoe ride could kill her.

She fell asleep.

Later that summer we paddled round little ponds and admired red wing black birds.

This weekend, a year older and a year more coordinated, she helped me paddle, grasping my paddle and sing-songing with me “strooooke.” She reached precariously over the side and stretched her fingers through the clear cold water. She stared serenely and watched and listened. She sat at my feet and played with her toes.

I held peace in the air, peace in the water, and peace in my heart.

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mama’s leavin’ town

not me.  my mama.

my mommy, as i prefer to call her, is leaving the country for four whole months.

my support system, my best friend, unreachable by phone for four. whole. months.

when i decided to get married, i felt a new connection to my mom as a result of learning how to say goodbye to life as a young single woman.

when i decided to have a child, i felt a new stronger connection to my mom as a result of learning how to bear a child, and in essence, become my mother.

when i decided to live life without my husband, i didn’t just connect to my mom, i latched on to my mom.

i stole the apron strings out of my brother’s keepsake box, tied the ends to my mom’s heart and wrapped myself up in the apron, waiting for her to rock me to sleep.

i think my mom probably knows more about me now than she ever did when i was a younger woman.  i feel like we may as well live together again, i speak to her that much, i rely that much on her everyday wisdom.

i talk on the phone with her practically every single day.

i already miss her.

i know she’ll have a great time.  i’m incredibly proud of her for going.  in the past few years, i have had to say to her, “mom, you have everything you ever dreamed of.  what are you going to do now?  what does that feel like?”  i didn’t think people actually could get every thing they dreamed of:  my mom is a walking fairy tale.

so, of course, she’s doing something she didn’t dream of in my childhood: she’s creating new dreams to do.

i hope that i continue to be like my mom, my hero.  i hope that when i’m in my fifties that i am still creating new dreams too.

happy valentine’s day, mommy.  i’m going to miss you.

ps – remember to bring me back some foreign coins for my collection! 

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